267 bishops say they will attend Gafcon conference

May 8, 2008 by

By George Conger for CEN Organizers of the June Gafcon meeting in Jerusalem report that as of April 25, 267 bishops have registered for the June meeting in Jerusalem. Denounced as a rival gathering to the July Lambeth conference, a detailed agenda has yet to be released. Like Lambeth much of the conference will be devoted to worship and spiritual reflection. However, Gafcon will play host to bishops, clergy and lay leaders, and will also seek to formulate a common approach to the divisions of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. Approximately 150 bishops and conferees from Muslim majority countries unable to travel freely to Israel along with the Gafcon leadership team will meet at a resort on the Dead Sea in Jordan from June 18-22, while a further 600 are expected to join the self-styled “pilgrimage” in Jerusalem from June 22-29. Organizers note that many of the bishops attending Gafcon will also be among the 625 bishops attending the Lambeth Conference. While the Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda and their bishops have said that as it is currently organized, they will not attend Lambeth, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables announced last week that he will go to Lambeth. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced on May 6 that he would attend Lambeth and Gafcon, joining Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and the other conservative American bishops in attending both meetings.   Read the whole story...

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Pittsburgh Bishops to attend Lambeth Conference

May 7, 2008 by

From  Pittsburgh Diocese Document Actions Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops this July and August.    Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jordan and Jerusalem in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in Kent, England, this July and August. "After consulting with the people of Pittsburgh and our friends around the globe, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary for us to be present at both gatherings," said Bishop Robert Duncan. The Global Anglican Future Conference is focused on moving forward with the work and witness of the church even as the crisis in the Anglican Communion over discipline and biblical authority continues. It brings together hundreds of bishops who have, as a matter of conscience, decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, as well as other bishops who believe that global partnerships and the current conflicts necessitate their presence at both meetings. Among those going to Jerusalem and Jordan are many of the strongest supporters of orthodox Anglicans in North America. "We will be among friends, focused squarely on the Gospel, and dealing openly with how we build the missionary relationships, covenantal boundaries and responsible structures for the future of Anglicanism," said Bishop Duncan. Bishops Duncan and Scriven will then join some six-hundred bishops and archbishops (about two-thirds of all Anglican bishops) who will be attending the Anglican Communion’s once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Bishops. "Given the expense and the stated-intent of the Archbishop of Canterbury that Lambeth can no longer be considered a decision making council of the church, choosing to be present was not easy," said Bishop Duncan. In an effort to limit costs connected to the meeting, an estimated $12,000 per attending bishop and spouse for the entire two-and-a-half week Lambeth Conference, Bishop Duncan will attend July 16-25 and Bishop Scriven will attend July 26 – August 3. Both bishops believe it is important that the diocese be represented throughout the Lambeth Conference, if for no other reason than to provide an alternative perspective on the situation in The Episcopal Church. "Those who accuse us of abandoning the Anglican Communion will certainly be present and vocal. It is important for us to be able to respond directly to their claims about the situation in The Episcopal Church and our place in the Communion," added Bishop Duncan. As with the Global Anglican Future Conference, both Pittsburgh bishops will also work to strengthen missionary partnerships with bishops from every corner of the world. Bishop Scriven asked that Pittsburgh Episcopalians pray for both meetings. "We hope that many join us in praying for God’s clear presence and guidance in the Holy Land and Canterbury. With God, all things are possible," he said....

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NIGERIA: Anglican Province Now Over 25 Million in Unique Discipleship Program

Apr 16, 2008 by

From Virtueonline The Anglican Church in Nigeria, the largest and fastest growing Province in the Anglican Communion, is growing by leaps and bounds in a unique 1+1+3 program that has seen the church soar from 18 million to more than 25 million with 10 archbishops, 140 bishops and 37 new dioceses birthed in the last two years. "We are not simply making new converts, we are making disciples for Christ," said the Rt. Rev. Ikechi Nwachukwu Nwosu, Bishop of Umuahia in Eastern Nigeria. His diocese was started 15 years ago and now has 1.2 million practicing Anglicans in five dioceses out of a population of 2.5 million. This is typical of the growth throughout Nigeria. "The 1+1+3 program means that one person leads one person to Christ and disciples them intensively for three years. Every Anglican, from archbishops to bishops to lay people, must fulfill this requirement in order to reach Nigeria’s 120 million. Every Anglican is a one on one agent of conversion. Each must disciple that one person for three years and then that person must disciple someone else. It has had a multiplying effect. This is why the church is growing. Archbishop Peter Akinola (photo above),  Primate of Nigeria started the program in 2004. It was his vision for multiplying the Anglican presence in Nigeria. He did it to effectively combat crime and ills in Nigerian society, which were rapidly increasing at that time. According to the bishop, said the intensified program of evangelism and discipleship, which is promulgated by the Church’s Mission Committee, is done by all the bishops’ clergy and laity of the province. "That is the secret of our success. The House of Bishops and laity are all kept informed about the progress in evangelism and discipleship. As a result, we have needed to create whole new dioceses with the more outgoing evangelical clergy willing to make the sacrifices to do the work at minimal cost. "I carved a new diocese out here (Eastern Nigeria) and I told the primate and he carried it to the HOB. We pioneered it and it has been taken up by other dioceses. We now have three new dioceses." Read the whole article HERE....

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Christian Aid has ‘backed the wrong horse’ in AIDS prevention strategy

Apr 8, 2008 by

From Church of Ireland Gazette In an open letter to the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland, one of the Church’s leading evangelical laymen, Dermot O’Callaghan, has expressed criticism of the approach taken by Christian Aid in respect of HIV/ AIDS prevention. Mr O’Callaghan, who has been both a lay reader in the Diocese of Down and a member of General Synod for over 30 years, refers to his recent letters to the Gazette on combating AIDS (Letters, 11th January, page 7, and 15th February, page 9) and to the reply from Tendai Madondo, Programme Development Officer of Christian Aid Ireland (Letters, 25th January, page 7). In one of those letters, Mr O’Callaghan criticised the approach of Christian Aid to the ‘SAVE’ strategy to HIV/AIDS, suggesting that this method had abandoned moral responsibility in favour of political correctness, and advocating that the older ‘ABC’ method was a more effective strategy for HIV prevention. The SAVE approach stands for Safe sexual practices (abstinence, condoms, transfusions and being faithful), Access to available treatment and medication, Voluntary counselling, and Empowerment. It is considered by Christian Aid to be a comprehensive method to equip people to protect themselves from the virus and as encompassing care for those living with HIV. The alternative ABC method – Abstinence, Be faithful, use a Condom – which is favoured by Mr O’Callaghan as a balanced and evidence-based approach to HIV/AIDS prevention has been attacked by Christian Aid in the past. In his letter to the archbishops and bishops, Mr O’Callaghan states that "to my astonishment, an authoritative article has just been published which confirms all that I have been saying, and more." The article in question – AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right – was written by Edward C. Green, Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies, and Allison Herling Ruark, a Research Fellow at the Centre (see First Things article HERE). Mr O’Callaghan points out that the authors argue that epidemiological evidence is increasingly challenging the wisdom which says that poverty, gender inequality, powerlessness and social instability, etc. are the main drivers of the HIV/AIDS pandemic; rather, the "true driver" is sexual behaviour. He goes on to quote how the authors are very critical of the SAVE approach: "The problem with SAVE, however, is that three of the four components have already been demonstrated to have no effect on reducing new HIV infections. Only the ‘S’ – safe sexual practices – truly addresses prevention and in a sufficiently vague way that it provides no clear call for changes in sexual behavior that will actually reduce transmission. Moreover, in the AIDS world, ‘safe sex’ is understood to mean condom use … the SAVE approach is more a political statement than a guide to AIDS prevention." Mr O’Callaghan states their conclusion: "What the Churches are called to do by their theology turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention" – by which, he...

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